Charles Cavendish (Nottingham)
Sir Charles Cavendish (ca. 1594 – 1654) was an English aristocrat, Member of Parliament, and patron of philosophers and mathematicians.
He was the younger brother of William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and was knighted by James I in 1619. He was MP for Nottingham in 1624 and 1628, and sat in the Short Parliament of 1640. He built a mansion on the site of Bolsover Castle, bought by his father (also called Sir Charles Cavendish). His work on the house, to a design by John Smythson (son of Robert Smythson), was never completed. He was knighted, at Welbeck on 10 August 1619, during a visit of the king to his brother. On 23 January 1623-4, he was returned to parliament for the borough of Nottingham. He was also returned for the same place to the third parliament of Charles I on 18 February 1627-8, and to the Short parliament on 30 March 1640. On the outbreak of the civil war, Cavendish, with his brother Newcastle, entered the king's service, serving under his brother as lieutenant-general of the horse. He behaved with great gallantry in several actions, particularly distinguishing himself at the Battle of Marston Moor. He went into exile with his brother after the battle.
His group of intellectual acquaintances has been called the Welbeck Circle, after the family home Welbeck Abbey; it has also been called the "Newcastle Circle" after the elder brother’s title. Because the Cavendishes were royalist émigrés of the 1640s, the centre of this circle moved to Paris, where it took on the form of a salon. It grew around Thomas Hobbes and John Pell, with Sir Kenelm Digby joining in Paris, and also included William Petty.
Cavendish knew Pell from the Welbeck period, along with the mathematicians Walter Warner and Robert Payne. He supported William Oughtred and knew John Wallis. From early travels in France, he knew Marin Mersenne and Claude Mydorge; later he met René Descartes, Gilles de Roberval and Pierre Gassendi.
Cavendish was disinclined to make any concession by returning to England, but as the revenue from his estates was serviceable to his family, his brother Newcastle induced Clarendon to persuade him to make his submission. He accordingly repaired to England in the beginning of November with Lady Newcastle. They stayed in Southwark and afterwards in lodgings at Covent Garden, in great poverty. He was finally admitted to compound, and succeeded in purchasing Welbeck and Bolsover which had been confiscated from his brother. The proceedings in regard to his estates were not completed at the time of his death. He was buried at Bolsover in the family vault on 4 Feb. 1653-4.
- Noel Malcolm (editor), The Correspondence of Thomas Hobbes: Volume II: 1660-1679 (1994), pp. 801-806.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Carlyle, Edward Irving (1901). "Cavendish, Charles (1591-1654)". In Sidney Lee. Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Margaret J. Osler, Rethinking the Scientific Revolution (2000), p. 97.
- Andrew Pyle (editor), Dictionary of Seventeenth-Century British Philosophers (2000), article Cavendish, Charles, pp. 165-6.
- Noel Malcolm and Jacqueline Stedall (2005), John Pell (1611-1685) and His Correspondence with Sir Charles Cavendish: The Mental World of an Early Modern Mathematician